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May 11, 2006

Suckers

This is a very bad morning. This is the morning when I completely lost faith in the government of the United States of America:

NSA has massive database of Americans' phone calls

The National Security Agency has been secretly collecting the phone call records of tens of millions of Americans, using data provided by AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth, people with direct knowledge of the arrangement told USA TODAY.

If you go around your day to day life thinking that the government is trying to protect you or your rights, you are just a fool. A sucker. We are all suckers in their game today. There are people out there who know - fat cat U.S. Senators, some cabinet level people, maybe some members of congress and a couple of corporate executives - old, balding, with enough in the bank for the rest of their lives, but yet they sit there, with their mouths shut, protecting Bush and Cheney and the rest of them, while the administration breaks the law on a daily basis. Why can't one of these old bastards stand up on the floor of the senate or house, go on a talk show or something, and let the American people know just what the hell is going on? What are they afraid of? What could happen? This government has stolen our freedom. This government lies to us daily. Alberto Gonzales is not my Attorney General, he is George Bush's personal lawyer, and he is protecting his patron. He is not worrying about the citizens of the United States, he is worried about the interests of the Bush family and their billionaire friends. I am spitting angry this morning, and you should be too. Something has to be done. We can't wait another three years for this government to change, we can't afford to.

Update: Do you think people like Bobby Ray Inman would be saying things like this:

"This activity is not authorized," Inman said, as part of a panel discussion on eavesdropping that was sponsored by The New York Public Library. The Bush administration "need(s) to get away from the idea that they can continue doing it."

if they didn't know what was going on?

Update II: The President is a stone cold liar - either that, or he doesn't know what is going on. Glen Greenwald has some preliminary of the legality issues - I think any lay person can conclude they were.

Reed Hunt has also given us this today:

"No one should imagine that what NSA has done, if reports are accurate, is normal behavior or standard procedure in the interaction between a private communications network and the government. In an authoritarian country without a bill of rights and with state ownership of the communications network, such eavesdropping by people and computers is assumed to exist. But in the United States it is assumed not to occur, except under very carefully defined circumstances that, according to reports, were not present as NSA allegedly arm-twisted telephone companies into compliance. That is a topic that can't be avoided in the general's hearing, if he gets that far."

But - I would like to caution TPMmuckraker for headlines like this "Did Gonzales Mislead Congress about NSA Program?" You have to be very careful when playing their game - the language must be specific. In their post they post this part of a congressional transcript:

NADLER: Number two, can you assure us that there is no warrantless surveillance of calls between two Americans within the United States?

GONZALES: That is not what the president has authorized.

NADLER: Can you assure us that it's not being done?

GONZALES: As I indicated in response to an earlier question, no technology is perfect.

NADLER: OK.

GONZALES: We do have minimization procedures in place...

NADLER: But you're not doing that deliberately?

GONZALES: That is correct.

They were not conducting "surveillance" - they were not listening in to these phone calls (well - maybe they were, but that is not what the USA Today article is about - although I bet many people are concluding this point anyway and probably rightly so). What they are doing is gathering phone call records - who called who when, and for how long, etc. That is why Gonzales is being so cute with his answers, "That is not what the president has authorized", "No technology is perfect", etc. - he knows what is going on, but they don't, so they can't ask the question that will get him to admit to anything.

I think this is the Watergate break-in story of this administration. If lawmakers, journalists and citizens don't see the light after this I don't think anything will stir them from their comas.

Posted by afinta at May 11, 2006 06:20 AM

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